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Ace: What Asexuality Reveals about Desire, Identity, and the Meaning of Sex | Angela Chen
An engaging exploration of what it means to be asexual in a world that's obsessed with sexual attraction, and what we can all learn about desire and identity by using an ace lens to see the world What exactly is sexual attraction and what is it like to go through the world not experiencing it? What does asexuality reveal about consent, about compromise, about the structures of society? This accessible guide to asexuality shows that the issues that aces face--confusion around sexual activity, the intersection of sexuality and identity, navigating different needs in relationships--are conflicts that all of us experience as we move through the world. Through interviews, cultural criticism, and memoir, ACE invites all readers to consider big-picture issues through the lens of asexuality. Journalist Angela Chen weaves together her own path to understanding her asexuality with the perspectives of a diverse group of asexual people. Vulnerable and honest, these stories include a woman who had blood tests done because she was convinced that "not wanting sex" was a sign of serious illness, and a man who grew up in an evangelical household and did everything "right," only to realize after marriage that his experience of sexuality had never been the same as that of others. Also represented are disabled aces, aces of color, non-gender-conforming aces, and aces who don't want romantic relationships who are all navigating a world that is infatuated by sex. Through careful cultural analysis, Chen explores the influence of societal norms upon our understanding of intimacy and relationships and celebrates the sheer breadth of sexuality and queerness.
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HeatherBookNerd
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Pickpick

A very helpful and accessible overview of asexuality, especially for people who do not know anything about it. Also lots of interesting observations on the value society places on sex as the ultimate experience and the ways people who do not have sex are presumed less than. My only complaint is that the author was incredibly repetitive, diluting her good points by beating them to death sometimes. But worth a read.

#readharder

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ChaoticMissAdventures
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Pickpick

Fantastic. Such a great introduction to Asexually, and it brought up many questions for me (I am not Ace) and how we look at relationships, romance, and sex.

ChaoticMissAdventures I wish I had read this before 1mo
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wideeyedreader
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I thought this was really informative and interesting!

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CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
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Pickpick

An accessible and thought-provoking book that shares ace perspectives on feminist politics, disability, race, consent, relationships, and more. I thought the mix of Chen's personal story, those of other aces she interviewed, and her more academic writing on the topics worked really well. The observations that hit me the hardest were those about feminist attitudes to sex, consent and sex in relationships, and rape culture. Recommended!

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CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
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"Aces know that sex is not always the dividing line that determines whether a relationship is romantic...Questions about the definition of romantic love are the starting point for aces to think about love and romance in unexpected ways, from new explicit categories beyond friendship and romance to the opportunities -- legal, social, and more -- of a world where romantic love is not the type of love valued above all others."

#QueerBooks

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CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
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"If having sex were merely cool, this would have bothered me little. However, sex had also become feminist, and this I cared about. Through a subtle series of twists, like in a game of telephone, sex for liberal women has become more than a way to enjoy ourselves or even prove that we are desirable. Conspicuous consumption of sex has become a way to perform feminist politics."

?? so much interesting food for thought in this book!

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DMC_run8
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Pickpick

Very informative read both for those who are on the Ace spectrum and for those who aren't. Covers the intersections between being Ace and homo or heterosexual, trans, disabled, BIPOC. Also discusses consent in a way that is beneficial for anyone regardless of identity. 4⭐️

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Nalbuque
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Pickpick

Everyone should read this. It‘s abt so much more than assexuality- it‘s abt knowing and accepting yourself, as well as others. It‘s abt the baseline of “normal” sexuality and how it moves thru time and space. It‘s abt community, relationships, freedom, communication, and again, acceptance. It‘s also very informative, interesting, and easy to digest, so there‘s rly no reason not to dive into it 🤍

wisherwishinguponastar I keep meaning to find a copy of this, but I still have “The Invisible Orientation“ to read. I need to get on that! 3mo
12 likes1 comment
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Lindy
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Pickpick

There‘s a lot to think about in this book, which examines Western society through an asexual lens. There‘s the idea that people who don‘t want sex are sick, for example. And that all disabled people are asexual. That “rape is not sex” & “no means no” are binary ways of thinking that require an overhaul. Chen emphasizes developing & normalizing language that lets us talk about emotional intimacy. Fresh perspectives shook me up in a good way. LGBTQ+

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Lindy
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Rejecting one form of social programming makes it easier to start questioning everything else.

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Shievad
Pickpick

After reading the ace romance book Loveless, I wanted to learn more about this sexual orientation and Chen certainly taught me a lot.

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Kazzie
Pickpick

Fascinating examination into sexuality. I really liked it and would recommend it for anyone

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psalva
Pickpick

This was such an affirming book. It discusses the spectrum of issues that aces experience and is a well-rounded introduction for those new to the topic. I am grateful to have found it and would recommend it highly.

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shanaqui
Pickpick

This is really written for allosexuals, but it was interesting for me too for the breadth of different experiences of asexuality that are put there, and avoiding lionising the stereotype of a gold star asexual.

It's always a relief all over again to find other people who just do not know what other people mean by sexual attraction.

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amma-keep-reading
Pickpick

Fascinating new topic for me.

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dariazeoli
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In some ways, the slow increase of ace representation in books feels similar to the increase of vegan options in the world. If you‘d have told me I could have my pick of plant-based meats at the supermarket 12 years ago, I‘d have been skeptical. So I have to believe something similar is coming in book options!

https://www.bustle.com/entertainment/asexual-ace-romance-book-readers

#asexuality #asexual #acesoflitsy

Soubhiville Isn‘t it great! I love that diverse reading is getting easier to find, and I‘m extra glad that younger readers are getting books like these too! 10mo
Soubhiville @Eyelit @alysonwrites thought you might be interested per our conversation yesterday 🙂📚. Thanks for sharing @dariazeoli ! 10mo
alysonimagines @Soubhiville Thanks for passing this on! It is really encouraging to see a gradual increase in more #ownvoices books repping a greater spectrum of experience, including ace/arospec. 10mo
47 likes3 comments
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Bookish_Gal
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Pickpick

I felt seen, I cried, I learned... This is a book written by someone under the ace umbrella sharing stories from other aces under the umbrella. Also with discussing why people are obsessed with sex. It‘s everywhere! But as ace, we don‘t get that. The story of the religious man fighting between his feelings vs what he‘s told he‘s obligated to in marriage hit close. Same with this above quote. Feel educated to talk to my s/o much better now
#lgbtqa

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Bookish_Gal
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This is a great book about the diverse umbrella term that asexuality really is. What‘s nice about being able to see that is that the author has gone out and spoken to a wide array of people under different terms. It‘s so nice to hear there‘s other people down here. Especially the “no sex till marriage” young man. That one hits close to home. #lgbtqa

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AnneCecilie
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Pickpick

I find that Chen sums up this book best herself when she writes “The goal of ace liberation is simply the goal of true sexual and romantic freedom for everyone. A society that is welcoming to aces can never be compatible with rape culture; with misogyny, racism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia;”

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rachelsbrittain
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Pickpick

A brilliant book I think will be eye-opening for both ace and allo (not ace) readers, providing a look at what it means to be ace. The book explores asexuality through many perspectives and experiences, providing narrative examples as well as philosophical and psychological. The challenges aces face give a lot of insight into how the elevation of sex and sexual / romantic relationships above all else in modern society causes problems for everyone.

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Soubhiville
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Pickpick

I did this one on audio, and the narration was excellent. There‘s a lot to learn and a lot to think about in this book. I‘d recommend it whether you identify as Ace or Aro, or if you‘re just wanting to learn more about these terms and the widely varied spectrum of human sexuality.

Sietje listened with me in the car. She may not have learned as much as I did. 🐶❤️📚

ShelleyBooksie Beautiful pup! 1y
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rachelsbrittain
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"The parent who asks one five-year-old boy which classmate he wants as a girlfriend asks another five-year-old ace or gay boy how they can already know their sexuality."

This book has so many gold star quotes!

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rachelsbrittain
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A little lunchtime reading

Tera66 This looks perfect to me! 1y
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Caterina
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SkeletonKey I‘m reading this one right now as well! 1y
40 likes1 comment
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Caterina
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One of my favorite things: sitting incorrectly in a chair, curled up around a good book! ? "Compulsory sexuality" is an important addition to the conversation about sexuality and sex, inspired by Adrienne Rich's "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence." Ace (asexual) discourse has a lot to offer to understanding the full range of human sexuality and desire better!

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Caterina
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Another virtual reading party with my love. 🥰 2 very good books being read! @CounterfeitNickel

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Caterina
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I have today off before my 12 hour overnight on-call shift at the hospital, so I'm taking it easy and resting up! Had a little virtual reading party with @CounterfeitNickel on the porch in which we did more quote-sharing than reading. 🥰

kspenmoll What a great way to share your reading! Hope you got the rest you needed. 1y
Caterina @kspenmoll It was lovely! We're already planning our next virtual reading date. 🥰 Thank you, I did get the rest I needed for last night's work! ❤️ 1y
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Christine
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Pickpick

This was a really engaging read that taught me a lot! Much re: asexuality, about which I was pretty uninformed. But I also learned (and stopped to think) a lot more about things like the complexity of consent, the medicalization of desire, and how the primacy of romantic and sexual relationships is normalized. Expanded my vocab with concepts like compulsory sexuality and amatonormativity, too.

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dariazeoli
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My town held its first annual Pride celebration this morning! While I didn‘t go, I was pleased to see such an event here. I couldn‘t help but wonder if any aces were there.

As a heteroromantic ace, I‘ve seen so much gatekeeping regarding whether we‘re part of the queer community. As if 1% of the population identifying as acespec isn‘t minority enough for a place at the table. When ACE came out last year, it was a joy to see a mirror held up! 👇🏻

dariazeoli Representation matters. I‘m in my forties and didn‘t even know asexuality was a thing in my formative years! We need visibility, not erasure. We need support, not “you‘re basically straight so sit down and shut up.” If you‘re ace and identify as queer, don‘t let anyone tell you that‘s not allowed. 1y
dariazeoli Heteroromantic and heterosexual are NOT the same thing. And whether you romantically identify as hetero-, homo-, bi-, pan-, or aromantic, your story is valid. YOU are valid. Happy Pride! 1y
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ozma.of.oz Ace fist bump! 👊🏻 🤍💜🖤 Happy Pride! (edited) 1y
dylanisreading Well said! Happy Pride! 1y
Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick My town had their first Pride event yesterday too, but have done a couple flag raisings in the past. While I'm what I've been told is cis-het and I'm still learning, I went in support of my friends and neighbors who identify otherwise. 1y
dariazeoli @Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick That‘s awesome! Thanks for supporting your friends! 1y
Eyelit 🖤🤍💜 1y
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TheWordJar
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‪You know how when you‘re reading and highlighting passages, and all of a sudden you realize you basically have the whole book highlighted? That‘s me reading Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen. I‘m learning so much about asexuality, but also about the compulsive and compulsory sexualization of society. Everyone should read this. ‬

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WorldsOkayestStepMom
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Pickpick

I learned so much about being ace and the ace spectrum! I enjoyed seeing things from different perspectives and I really appreciated all the intersectionality through the whole book.

Megabooks Such a great book! 💜 2y
WorldsOkayestStepMom @Megabooks thank you so much for the recommendation! Your post about it was the kick in the pants I needed to actually buy it and start reading! 2y
Megabooks Awesome!! I‘m glad you enjoyed it. 2y
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CampbellTaraL
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Pickpick

A great intro to asexuality and a starting point for the much needed critique on western society's compulsory sexuality. The obsessive ideas about sex actively damages so many types of relationships, many of which are more important than sexual-dependent ones. As the author notes, there is a lot to understanding what asexuality is and can't be covered in one book. But this one covers enough to dispel stereotypes and ignite critical thinking.

CampbellTaraL Note: 5 stars for accessible information and organization, 2 stars for editing. If I hadn't been invested in the topic, I would have quit reading at the introduction. The line editors dropped the ball, and the intro story felt too YA themed, something I rarely connect with but... I'm glad I kept reading. 2y
39 likes1 comment
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violabrain
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Pickpick

This is one of the most important, incredible books I have ever read. I so deeply appreciate her ability to clearly articulate topics and issues that can be extremely confusing and difficult. Everyone should read this book. I don‘t think I ever would have run across this book if it weren‘t for the community on here, so thank you to those of you who have posted about it!

BekaReid yes! Angela Chen articulates on the subject well, and it is much needed on this topics. 2y
16 likes1 comment
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CampbellTaraL
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"Society does center sexuality. In the West today, sexuality is considered an essential part of identity. Sexuality is not merely what you do, it is a part of who you are, part of the truth of you."

Asexuality flips the script and shows that what people assume is "natural" or "normal" has a lot more to do with social and cultural influence than biology.

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BekaReid
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Pickpick

This is an excellent book. Angela Chen examines what asexuality is and is not through an intersectional lens. She explores the nuances of desire and passion and how we as a society have created a hierarchy of love, where romance is considered superior to friendship. Our culture isn't just one of compulsory heterosexuality but one of compulsory sexuality at its core.

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dariazeoli
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Andrew65 Looks good. 2y
58 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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BekaReid
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Excited to start this book my partner gave me for Christmas! He knows me well.

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xicanti
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I‘m trying to get back in the habit of reading nonfiction at lunch instead of shoehorning it in wherever (and, often, skipping it for a few days). Onward through ACE! I‘m only three chapters from the end now.

Today‘s lunch was the last of the fish curry. There‘s usually some broth left after the fish is gone, so I add a bit of rice to it and make it into yummy soup.

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xicanti
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Throwback to last night, when I ate spicy egg drop soup while I read ACE. This one‘s a total #BlameItOnLitsy case, and I‘m so glad the ace community here talked it up. It‘s excellent.

Megabooks I really saw myself in this book. I would love it for all my allosexual friends to read it! 2y
xicanti @Megabooks it‘s so relatable and engaging. 2y
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Megabooks
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September Wrapup! The best of the month were definitely Ace and Transcendent Kingdom. Good month overall. I read more than I thought I‘d be able to. 👍🏻

Crazeedi Wow, you did great!! I read diagnosis too 2y
Crazeedi I love those kind of books! 2y
Megabooks @Crazeedi yes!! Really enjoyed it. 2y
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Gissy Wow! Amazing!📚📚📚🎉 2y
Megabooks @Gissy thank you!! 2y
wisherwishinguponastar Would it be safe to presume you would suggest “Ace?” 2y
94 likes7 comments
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Megabooks
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1. We always put out mums. Unfortunately, we weren‘t able to get out and buy any this year, but one of our friends sent us one from a florist.
2. This recent read I‘ve tagged.
3. I usually track them in my notes app on my phone, but this year I decided to track them in notebooks that I haven‘t kept up in for two months. Ugh!! Definitely back to notes in 2021!!

Thanks for the tag @Eggs 😘
I‘ll tag @RamsFan1963 @Moonprismpower and @CoffeeK8

Megabooks Thanks for the tags @MoonWitch94 and @Coleen_Nieto 💖💖 2y
Eggs Thanks so much for playing and sharing 🍁🎃🤗👏🏻 2y
CoffeeK8 Thank for the tag! 2y
60 likes4 comments
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ephemeralwaltz
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Great new episode of The Stacks with Angela Chen, the author of ACE, a new book aaaaaall about asexuality and the conversations surrounding desire, identity, sexual attraction and relations. On the immediate TBR 👌

If you use Spotify ---> https://open.spotify.com/episode/2lyxeFupHzV8xBwBHZhHEf?si=rIevU4iWQvGFXYKuzTCnz...

scripturient Hey Clara, Hope you are well. Just wanted to let you know that your package got here yesterday. Looking forward to reading The Toll. :) 2y
ephemeralwaltz @scripturient Hi Stefanie! Thank you, hope you are all doing fine as well. I'm so glad!! Happy reading :) 2y
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alisonrose
Pickpick

I wrote a long, gushing review on Goodreads, which I can‘t possibly sum up properly here. Suffice it to say, I‘ve never felt so seen by a book—or any piece of culture or media—in my life. And the ways this book saw me, represented me, understood me, are so rare that it makes it all the more meaningful. The author did a brilliant job covering every angle, every nuance, every voice & experience. I‘m verklempt. I needed this & it delivered. 5/5 🌟

alisonrose My GR is linked in my bio if you want more thorough thoughts! 2y
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Megabooks
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This is a fantastic, more nuanced look at consent and sex. Good for all sexual orientations.

CampbellTaraL Oooh I just heard about this book the other day. Your excerpt adds to the reasons I really want to read it! 2y
Megabooks @taraWritesSci Yes! I wrote a review last night. It‘s a great book. 2y
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alisonrose
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Megabooks
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Pickpick

I kept waiting for my sexual attraction to awaken & I‘m just old enough that I didn‘t think to look at the internet to find answers. My sexuality & romantic orientation have never fit in a neat box and I feel if I hadn‘t waited and I had more books like this available in my formative years, I‘d have been less confused.

This is a great resource for aces, those that care about aces, and a good resource for people looking to navigate sex in general.

ValerieAndBooks I‘ll have to check this out. I have an extended family member who has recently come out as asexual, and their parents are trying to understand. May recommend to them, too. 2y
Megabooks @ValerieAndBooks yes, the author talks to many non-binary aces and discusses the intersection of asexuality and gender identity. (I‘m thinking you used they/them pronouns, but it‘s a very good book for your relative and their parents, no matter the gender identity.) But it‘s a really good introduction to a lot of the concepts of asexuality and different “presentations” of aces, such as their romantic identity, etc. there‘s a wide range of “normal” 2y
Megabooks @ValerieAndBooks also, I‘d like to recommend this book too. It covers similar topics. Ace ⬆️ is more conversational, whereas this that I‘m tagging is a bit more textbook-y 2y
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alisonrose

The disabled community has spent a long time fighting the idea that disabled people are, or should be, asexual. The ace community has struggled for as long as it has existed to prove that asexuality has nothing to do with disability. A disabled ace woman complicates both these political agendas, and it is perhaps in a situation like this that the questions of legitimacy and in-group loyalty are most acute.

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alisonrose

These groups—women, people of color, [and] disabled people—can find it very difficult to claim asexuality because it looks so much like the product of sexism, racism, ableism, and other forms of violence. The legacy of this violence is that those who belong to a group that has been controlled must do extra work to figure out the extent to which we are *still* being controlled.

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